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Filed by
Carla Virga
When
April 03, 2016
Compaining of
Elected Official
County
Sutter
City
N/A
Short Description
Sutter County DA Amanda Hopper Refuses to Prosecute Elaine Miles for Felony Vandalism - Conflicts of Interest?
Complaint

 

Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper refuses to criminally prosecute a case of felony vandalism against Elaine Miles, a local politically connected member and Bylaws Chairman of the Sutter County Republican Central Committee, Treasurer of the Sutter County Taxpayers Association, and Parliamentarian of the Sutter-Yuba Republican Women Federated.  The case was successfully litigated in Small Claims Court, where the judge stated motive, means, and opportunity were proved and ruled Elaine Miles GUILTY.  Are the following proof of conflicts of interest, and are they why and how Elaine Miles has successfully escaped criminal prosecution?

 

When Amanda Hopper worked for former Sutter County District Attorney Carl Adams, Elaine Miles informed the Sutter County Taxpayers Association (SCTA) of their personal conversations about Adams and the corruption within the DA’s Office. 

 

Elaine Miles informed SCTA of Amanda Hopper's resignation from the DA’s Office because of the corruption.

 

Elaine Miles claimed she convinced Amanda to run for District Attorney after DA Adams resigned.

 

Elaine Miles donated to Amanda Hopper’s campaign for Sutter County District Attorney [information of the Elaine Miles and Noal Miles Trust $99 donation to Amanda Hopper available at Sutter County Elections Office].

 

Noal Miles helped put up Amanda Hopper’s campaign signs at various locations in Sutter County.

 

Elaine and Noal Miles walked door-to-door campaigning for Amanda Hopper.

 

Elaine Miles introduced Amanda Hopper to the Sutter-Yuba Republican Women Federated and Sutter Buttes Tea Party's Executive Committee.

 

The Sutter Buttes Tea Party and Sutter County Taxpayers Association (SCTA) held two Candidate Forums for Sutter County District Attorney -- March 31, 2014 and September 15, 2014. The questions were compiled by, and known only to the moderator (Larry Virga) and the panelists: Pat Miller, SCTA President; Paul Preston, Agenda 21 Radio; and Danielle Terry, Shooters Paradise. Based on Mrs. Hopper’s responses at the September 15 event, it was suspected she knew the questions in advance.  (SCTA President Pat Miller, who is also a member of the Sutter County Republican Central Committee and Sutter-Yuba Republican Women, was also a panelist at the Yuba-Sutter Tea Party/Sutter County Taxpayers Candidate Forum in 2016 where it was suspected Liz Cervantes, a candidate for Sutter County Supervisor who is also a member of the Sutter County Republican Central Committee and Sutter-Yuba Republican Women, knew the questions in advance.)

 

Sutter County DA Amanda Hopper was seen speaking privately with defendant Elaine Miles while the Yuba City Police Department's report was somewhere in the DA's office awaiting the DA's decision to prosecute. 

 

Background: Motive, Means, Opportunity, and Yet No Prosecution

 

Nine members of the Sutter Buttes Tea Party Steering Committee unanimously voted Elaine and Noal Miles off the Executive Committee (and seven voted out her friend, Gail Thompson) for their increasingly disruptive and hostile actions, including one meeting where the Assistant Coordinator stopped Elaine Miles as she was about to hit me and a public meeting where another member had to take her outside to calm her down and stop her escalating public scene (witnessed by Stan Cleveland and his father).

 

Before the public meeting was to begin five days after the expulsions and over a period of 20-30 minutes, four people saw Mrs. Miles standing alone behind my car.  One saw her alone in the parking lot when he left to replace items she had removed that were needed for the meeting and saw her still there when he returned. 

 

Mike Geraldo was looking out one of the reflective windows next to the closed glass door of the Sutter-Yuba Association of Realtors' Meeting Room as he waited to greet people when they arrived to our August 4, 2014, public meeting. As the photo below shows, he could not be seen from behind my car.

 

realtorwindows2

 

Mr. Geraldo saw Mrs. Miles pour nail polish across the rear of the car belonging to the Chairman and the Secretary (my husband Larry and me, respectively). He opened the door and yelled, "Hey, I saw what you just did!"  She yelled, "Liar!"

 

Bill Beeler was standing next to Mr. Geraldo and immediately looked toward my car. He saw Mrs. Miles standing alone behind the car with her hands clutched to her chest (probably clutching and concealing an empty nail polish bottle) and a “deer-in-the-headlights” reaction at being caught.

 

Mr. Geraldo and another member immediately went to the car as Mrs. Miles headed for the garbage tote at the curb. Mr. Geraldo saw the other member touch the fresh wet nail polish, which had dripped onto the tail light, smearing the nail polish and leaving some on his thumb.

 

Larry Virga, Bill Beeler, and others (I don’t remember who) saw Mrs. Miles put something into the garbage tote at the street, saw her rummage through that same tote after the police were called, and saw her walk with her husband down the street where they easily could have discarded the empty bottle of nail polish in any of the bushes, ground covers, or garbage totes lining the street.

 

The Yuba City Police were telephoned and arrived on the scene.  They interviewed Mike Geraldo, Larry Virga, and Mrs. Miles at the scene and instructed Larry to get an estimate for repairs. The estimate was $2,152.83 to repair the damage to the trunk, rear quarter panel, bumper, and tail light – a felony. Other than interviewing Elaine Miles, the police only interviewed Larry and Mr. Geraldo at the scene and did not interview anyone else.

 

YCPD sent the case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. In his report, YCPD Officer Jared Thornton wrote:

 

Based on suspect statements, witness statements, and the evidence, I believed E. Miles maliciously defaced Virga’s vehicle. E. Miles was in violation of section 594(b)(1) PC. Recommendation: Case closed. Forward to the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of an arrest warrant for Elaine Anne Miles for section 594(b(1) PC.

I provided names and contact information of other witnesses and witness statements to Cameron King, the Deputy DA assigned the case. None were questioned by the Yuba City Police Department or the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office.

 

Amanda Hopper was elected Sutter County District Attorney in November 2014. The people’s case, CRF-14-1785, was reassigned to another Deputy DA, Miles Perry, who prosecuted the case at the pretrial hearing in January 2015. In a case entirely dependent upon witnesses’ testimonies, no witness was called, and no witness testimony was presented. Judge Perry Parker righteously discharged defendant Elaine Miles due to lack of evidence.

 

A photo posted on Mrs. Miles’ Facebook page listed Amanda Hopper, the Sutter County District Attorney as one of the many celebrants at her celebration party following the hearing:

ElaineDTcelebration

 

Prior to the pretrial hearing, we did not know Larry Mertz, Chary Dunn, and Paul Preston had seen Mrs. Miles standing alone behind my car during about a 20-minute time span prior to the vandalism.  They came forward, and I informed Deputy DA Perry.  I also asked if YCPD had obtained the footage from the DMV security cameras located within view of the crime scene. He had no knowledge of any surveillance footage; and seven months after the crime, stated he would requisition the footage from DMV and send the case back to YCPD for further investigation.

 

I delivered a packet of information to Officer Thornton, which included the list of witnesses and their contact information. Still, none of the witnesses were contacted. Several weeks after Officer Thornton stated he sent the file back to the DA’s Office, the DA’s Office claimed they could not find the file. DA Hopper wrote that she would have staff look for it.

 

Larry Mertz saw defendant Elaine Miles talking alone with DA Hopper for several minutes prior to a public meeting. A couple weeks later, I received a letter from Deputy DA Perry stating the DA’s Office closed the case due to “no new evidence.” Since three new witnesses are definitely “new evidence” and no witness testimony had ever been introduced in court, ANY witness testimony would be “new evidence” for the court.  DA Perry’s claim rings false.

 

With no other recourse, I filed a Small Claims suit, Virga vs. Miles.  Elaine Miles countersued for defamation.  The two cases were heard in Sutter County Small Claims Court September 10, 2015.  Judge Perry Parker, who was the judge who discharged Elaine Miles in January 2015 due to “lack of evidence,” stated I proved means, motive, and opportunity and ruled Elaine Miles GUILTY of vandalizing my car.  He ordered her to pay the $2,152.83 for damages plus court costs. In the case Miles vs. Virga for defamation, Judge Parker ruled me NOT GUILTY.

 

I received a check from Mrs. Miles in the amount of $2,227.83 with a handwritten note stating in part, “I feel like a winner because there are many, many good people who believe and support me. I was never arrested and never booked. My record is clear.”

 

I contacted the Yuba City Police Department, which finally interviewed the three witnesses who came forth after the pre-trial hearing. YCPD sent the case back to the DA’s Office for prosecution.

 

We heard nothing from the DA's Office.  I contacted DA Hopper, and she agreed to meet with Larry and me. She informed us due to knowing both parties, she delegated the case to Jana McClung who assigned it to Anu Chopra, a Deputy DA. Since parties in a criminal case are “the people” or the “State of California” vs. the defendant, not the victim of the crime vs. the alleged criminal, her excuse fell flat; but we trusted her and believed she would do the job she was elected to do.

 

Hearing nothing from the DA's Office, I contacted Deputy DA Chopra, who informed me there is not enough evidence to criminally prosecute the case.

 

Since Judge Parker decreed I proved means, motive, and opportunity, which are all the elements necessary for a criminal prosecution and conviction, DA Chopra’s claim rings false.

 

I sent the following via online email January 1, 2016, to Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper:

 

On December 22, 2015, Anu Chopra, the Deputy DA assigned the felony vandalism case against Elaine Miles, informed me she will not be pursuing prosecution of Elaine Miles based on "lack of evidence." I strongly believe there is PLENTY of evidence, such as:

 

MOTIVE - Five days before the vandalism, the Sutter Buttes Tea Party Executive Committee voted Elaine and Noal Miles and Gail Thompson off the SBTP Executive Committee for anti-Tea Party activities and increasing hostilities, including one Executive Committee meeting where Mike Geraldo prevented Miles from hitting me and a public SBTP meeting where Miles was removed by Tammie Rikard to stop Miles' verbal assaults and public scene. Evidence - 1) Letter signed by Elaine and Noal Miles and Gail Thompson insisting they were still committee members; 2) Incident Reports re public scenes by Elaine Miles and Gail Thompson at public meeting, Secretary's Minutes, and witnesses - Larry Mertz, Becky Bowen, Thomas Burns, Jason and Tammie Rikard, Mike Geraldo, Bill Beeler, and Larry and Carla Virga.

 

OPPORTUNITY - Over a period of 20-30 minutes, four eye witnesses -- Larry Mertz, Paul Preston, and Chary and Maynard Dunn -- saw Miles standing alone behind my car prior to the vandalism (proving no one else could have committed the crime without her seeing who did if it wasn't her). One eye witness -- Mike Geraldo -- saw Miles pour something across the trunk of my car. One eye witness -- Bill Beeler -- immediately looked toward my car when Geraldo yelled to Miles he saw what she did and saw Miles' standing alone behind the car with a deer-in-the-headlights reaction at being caught. Two eye witnesses -- Mike Geraldo and Jason Rikard -- went to the car and determined the substance on the car was fresh, wet nail polish. Multiple witnesses -- Larry Virga, Bill Beeler, and others -- saw Miles put something into a garbage tote at the street, saw her rummage through that same tote after the police were called, and saw her walk with her husband down the street where they easily could have discarded the empty bottle of nail polish.

 

With all the above information, do you, the Sutter County District Attorney, concur there is not enough evidence to prosecute this case?

 

To date, Sutter County DA Amanda Hopper has not responded to my inquiry.

 

May 3, 2016 Update: 

 

Anu Chopra, the District Attorney who refused to prosecute the case due to "lack of evidence," has been charged in another case with alleged misconduct.  http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/misconduct-alleged-against-sutter-county-deputy-da/article_22db7d22-10d3-11e6-9533-db51ab1bfdd2.html

 

Sutter County DA Amanda Hopper has still not responded to whether she concurs with Chopra's determination there was not enough evidence to prosecute. 

Steps Taken

Lies and rumors have been spread about this case, about me, and about the Sutter Buttes Tea Party.  Since I contacted the DA's Office, Territorial Dispatch, Appeal Democrat, Channel 10 News, and Sutter County Board of Supervisors to get the truth out, all to no avail, With the generous help of Graebeerd, a computer-literate web designer, I created this web site to give the people of Sutter and Yuba Counties a voice and a public record of transgressions by paid political employees, elected representatives, public agencies, and the local courts. 

 

If you have any questions about this complaint,  you may telephone me at (530) 755-4409 or email weebler@syix.com.

 

 

6/8/16 UPDATES: 

 

Online complaint filed 4/12/16 with the CA Attorney General's Office:

 

Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper - Conflict of Interest

 

Amanda Hopper, the Sutter County District Attorney since December 2014, refuses to prosecute a case of felony vandalism against Elaine Miles, a member of the Sutter County Republican Central Committee, Treasurer of the Sutter County Taxpayers Association, Parliamentarian of the Sutter-Yuba Republican Women Federated, a co-founder and former member of the Sutter Buttes Tea Party, and one of Mrs. Hopper’s politically active donors who worked on her political campaign.

It was Elaine Miles who informed the Sutter County Taxpayers Association of personal conversations she had with Amanda Hopper regarding former DA Carl Adams when Hopper worked for him, who reported she convinced Amanda Hopper to run for Sutter County District Attorney after Adams resigned, and who introduced Amanda Hopper to the Sutter Buttes Tea Party’s Executive Committee members at a regularly held Saturday morning breakfast.

To date, Mrs. Hopper has not replied to my January 1, 2016, query -- wherein I laid out the evidence with witness testimonies I provided in Small Claims Court, which resulted in a guilty verdict against Elaine Miles for vandalism -- asking if she concurs with Anu Chopra, the Deputy DA she assigned the case to who claimed there is not enough evidence to prosecute Elaine Miles for felony vandalism.

Background: Motive, Means, Opportunity, and Yet No Prosecution

 

Nine members of the Sutter Buttes Tea Party Steering Committee unanimously voted Elaine and Noal Miles off the Executive Committee (and seven voted out her friend, Gail Thompson) for their increasingly disruptive and hostile actions, including one meeting where the Assistant Coordinator stopped Elaine Miles as she was about to hit me and a public meeting where another member had to take her outside to calm her down and stop her escalating public scene.

 

Before the public meeting was to begin five days after the expulsions and over a period of 20-30 minutes, four people saw Mrs. Miles standing alone behind my car. One saw her alone in the parking lot when he left to replace items she had removed that were needed for the meeting and saw her still there when he returned.

Mike Geraldo was looking out one of the reflective windows next to the closed glass door of the Sutter-Yuba Association of Realtors' Meeting Room as he waited to greet people when they arrived to our August 4, 2014, public meeting with guest speaker Assemblywoman Shannon Grove. As the photo below shows, he could not be seen from behind my car.

Mr. Geraldo saw Mrs. Miles pour nail polish across the rear of the car belonging to the Chairman and the Secretary (my husband Larry and me, respectively). He opened the door and yelled, "Hey, I saw what you just did!" She yelled, "Liar!"

Bill Beeler was standing next to Mr. Geraldo and immediately looked toward my car. He saw Mrs. Miles standing alone behind the car with her hands clutched to her chest (probably clutching and concealing an empty nail polish bottle) and a “deer-in-the-headlights” reaction at being caught.

Mr. Geraldo and Jason Rikard immediately went to the car as Mrs. Miles headed for the garbage tote at the curb. Mr. Geraldo saw Mr. Rikard touch the substance which had dripped onto the tail light, smearing the nail polish and leaving some on his thumb, and they determined it was fresh, wet nail polish.

Larry Virga, Bill Beeler, and others (I don’t remember who) saw Mrs. Miles put something into the garbage tote at the street, saw her rummage through that same tote after the police were called, and saw her walk with her husband down the street where they easily could have discarded the empty bottle of nail polish in any of the bushes, ground covers, or garbage totes lining the street.

The Yuba City Police were telephoned and arrived on the scene. They interviewed Mike Geraldo, Larry Virga, and Mrs. Miles at the scene and instructed Larry to get an estimate for repairs. The estimate was $2,152.83 to repair the damage to the trunk, rear quarter panel, bumper, and tail light – a felony. Other than interviewing Elaine Miles, the police only interviewed Larry and Mr. Geraldo at the scene and did not interview anyone else.

YCPD sent the case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. In his report, YCPD Officer Jared Thornton wrote:

"Based on suspect statements, witness statements, and the evidence, I believed E. Miles maliciously defaced Virga’s vehicle. E. Miles was in violation of section 594(b)(1) PC. Recommendation: Case closed. Forward to the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of an arrest warrant for Elaine Anne Miles for section 594(b(1) PC."

I provided names and contact information of other witnesses and witness statements to Cameron King, the Deputy DA assigned the case. None were questioned by the Yuba City Police Department or the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office.

Amanda Hopper was elected Sutter County District Attorney in November 2014. The people’s case, CRF-14-1785, was reassigned to another Deputy DA, Miles Perry, who prosecuted the case at the pretrial hearing in January 2015. In a case entirely dependent upon witnesses’ testimonies, no witness was called, and no witness testimony was presented. Judge Perry Parker righteously discharged defendant Elaine Miles due to lack of evidence.

A photo posted on Facebook listed Amanda Hopper, the Sutter County District Attorney as one of the many celebrants at Miles' celebration party following the hearing.

Prior to the pretrial hearing, we did not know Larry Mertz, Chary Dunn, and Paul Preston had seen Mrs. Miles standing alone behind my car during about a 20-minute time span prior to the vandalism. They came forward, and I informed Deputy DA Perry. I also asked if YCPD had obtained the footage from the DMV security cameras located within view of the crime scene. He had no knowledge of any surveillance footage; and seven months after the crime, stated he would requisition the footage from DMV and send the case back to YCPD for further investigation.

I delivered a packet of information to Officer Thornton, which included the list of witnesses and their contact information. Still, none of the witnesses were contacted. Several weeks after Officer Thornton stated he sent the file back to the DA’s Office, the DA’s Office claimed they could not find the file. DA Hopper wrote in an email she would have staff look for it.

Larry Mertz saw defendant Elaine Miles talking alone with DA Hopper for several minutes prior to a public meeting. A couple weeks later, I received a letter from Deputy DA Perry stating the DA’s Office closed the case due to “no new evidence.” Since three new witnesses are definitely “new evidence” and no witness testimony had ever been introduced in court, ANY witness testimony would be “new evidence” for the court.

With no other recourse, I filed a Small Claims suit, Virga vs. Miles. Elaine Miles countersued for defamation. The two cases were heard in Sutter County Small Claims Court September 10, 2015. Judge Perry Parker, who was the judge who discharged Elaine Miles in January 2015 due to “lack of evidence,” stated I proved means, motive, and opportunity and ruled Elaine Miles GUILTY of vandalizing my car. He ordered her to pay the $2,152.83 for damages plus court costs. In the case Miles vs. Virga for defamation, Judge Parker ruled me NOT GUILTY.

I received a check from Mrs. Miles in the amount of $2,227.83 with a handwritten note stating in part, “I feel like a winner because there are many, many good people who believe and support me. I was never arrested and never booked. My record is clear.”

I contacted the Yuba City Police Department, which finally interviewed the three witnesses who came forth after the pre-trial hearing. YCPD sent the case back to the DA’s Office for prosecution.

We heard nothing from the DA's Office. I contacted DA Hopper, and she agreed to meet with Larry and me. She informed us due to knowing both parties, she delegated the case to Jana McClung who assigned it to Anu Chopra, a Deputy DA. Since parties in a criminal case are “the people” or the “State of California” vs. the defendant, not the victim of the crime vs. the alleged criminal, her excuse fell flat; but we trusted her and believed she would do the job she was elected to do.

Hearing nothing from the DA's Office, I contacted Deputy DA Chopra, who informed me there is not enough evidence to criminally prosecute the case.

Since Judge Parker decreed I proved means, motive, and opportunity, which are all the elements necessary for a criminal prosecution and conviction, DA Chopra’s claim rang false.

I sent the following via online email January 1, 2016, to Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper:

[Begin quote:]

On December 22, 2015, Anu Chopra, the Deputy DA assigned the felony vandalism case against Elaine Miles, informed me she will not be pursuing prosecution of Elaine Miles based on "lack of evidence." I strongly believe there is PLENTY of evidence, such as:

MOTIVE - Five days before the vandalism, the Sutter Buttes Tea Party Executive Committee voted Elaine and Noal Miles and Gail Thompson off the SBTP Executive Committee for anti-Tea Party activities and increasing hostilities, including one Executive Committee meeting where Mike Geraldo prevented Miles from hitting me and a public SBTP meeting where Miles was removed by Tammie Rikard to stop Miles' verbal assaults and public scene. Evidence - 1) Letter signed by Elaine and Noal Miles and Gail Thompson insisting they were still committee members; 2) Incident Reports re public scenes by Elaine Miles and Gail Thompson at public meeting, Secretary's Minutes, and witnesses - Larry Mertz, Becky Bowen, Thomas Burns, Jason and Tammie Rikard, Mike Geraldo, Bill Beeler, and Larry and Carla Virga.

OPPORTUNITY - Over a period of 20-30 minutes, four eye witnesses -- Larry Mertz, Paul Preston, and Chary and Maynard Dunn -- saw Miles standing alone behind my car prior to the vandalism (proving no one else could have committed the crime without her seeing who did if it wasn't her). One eye witness -- Mike Geraldo -- saw Miles pour something across the trunk of my car. One eye witness -- Bill Beeler -- immediately looked toward my car when Geraldo yelled to Miles he saw what she did and saw Miles' standing alone behind the car with a deer-in-the-headlights reaction at being caught. Two eye witnesses -- Mike Geraldo and Jason Rikard -- went to the car and determined the substance on the car was fresh, wet nail polish. Multiple witnesses -- Larry Virga, Bill Beeler, and others -- saw Miles put something into a garbage tote at the street, saw her rummage through that same tote after the police were called, and saw her walk with her husband down the street where they easily could have discarded the empty bottle of nail polish.

With all the above information, do you, the Sutter County District Attorney, concur there is not enough evidence to prosecute this case?

[End quote]

To date, Sutter County DA Amanda Hopper has not responded to my inquiry.

Lies and rumors have been spread about this case, about me, and about the Sutter Buttes Tea Party. Since I contacted the DA's Office, Territorial Dispatch, Appeal Democrat, Channel 10 News, and Sutter County Board of Supervisors to get the truth out, all to no avail, with the generous help of Graebeerd, a computer-literate web designer, I created a web site to give the people of Sutter and Yuba Counties a voice and a public record of transgressions by paid political employees, elected representatives, public agencies, and the local courts.

The above has been posted on the new website at:  http://sutteryubacomplaints.com/complaint-list/details/1/14 

 

  • 6/6/16 Update:  June 2, 2016, letter from Clifford E. Zall, Deputy Attorney General for Kamala Harris, State of California Attorney General:

 

Your complaint concerning the handling of the Elaine Miles matter

Our Office has completed its review of the handling of the above referenced matter. In your letter, you complained about the Sutter County District Attorney’s decision not to press forward with charges against Elaine Miles after Judge Parker declined to hold Ms. Miles to answer after a preliminary hearing. Our Office reviews complaints about a district attorney’s handling of a case under a deferential abuse of discretion standard. Under that standard we will take action only if we find that the decision of the local district attorney’s office was arbitrary and capricious and exceeded the bounds of reason. After a careful review of all the material contained in the file we do not find that that standard has been met here. I regret that we cannot assist you.